Wout Weghorst helps Burnley off foot of Premier League table with Brighton win
Josh Brownhill and Aaron Lennon were also on target at the Amex Stadium.
Wout Weghorst fired his first Premier League goal as relegation-threatened Burnley climbed off the bottom of the table with a resounding 3-0 success at Brighton.
Netherlands striker Weghorst – a £12million January signing from German club Wolfsburg following Chris Wood’s departure to Newcastle – set the Clarets on course for a first win in 12 top-flight games with a clinical finish.
Josh Brownhill’s deflected drive doubled the visitors’ advantage before Aaron Lennon’s second-half strike sealed a stunning scoreline at the Amex Stadium.
Success on the south coast was only a second top-flight victory of a difficult season for the struggling Clarets’ – and a first away from Turf Moor.
The overdue triumph lifts Sean Dyche’s side above Norwich on goal difference and leaves them five points from safety, albeit with games in hand on their rivals.
However, it came at a cost as top-scorer Maxwel Cornet limped off early in the second period following a challenge on Alexis Mac Allister.
Brighton – missing influential defenders Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster due to suspension and injury respectively – endured a frustrating afternoon, epitomised by a first-half flashpoint between Robert Sanchez and Shane Duffy.
Recalled centre-back Duffy responded by pushing his goalkeeper in the chest after Sanchez vented his displeasure following a collision between the pair as they dealt with a ball into the box.
Graham Potter’s ninth-placed hosts lacked fluidity and struggled to create as they slipped to back-to-back defeats for the first time this campaign.
Brighton and Burnley have been two of the division’s draw specialists this term.
But, while Albion have supplemented solitary points with regular wins, the lowly Clarets’ sole victory ahead of kick-off was a 3-1 defeat of Brentford in October.
On a grey, soggy day in Sussex when they were without centre-back James Tarkowski and midfielder Ashley Westwood due to coronavirus, the Lancashire side swiftly set about improving that record.
Dyche’s men began the brighter and were unfortunate to see Connor Roberts’ curling effort from the edge of the box strike the crossbar in the 10th minute.
The lacklustre Seagulls could have few complaints about falling behind just 11 minutes later.
Wales full-back Roberts was again involved, latching on to Lennon’s pass to cut the ball back from the right for the towering Weghorst to ruthlessly sweep home his landmark goal.
Stand-in Brighton skipper Adam Lallana headed narrowly wide from a Tariq Lamptey cross at the other end before the on-field coming together between Sanchez and Duffy embodied the home side’s poor start.
Things swiftly got worse for the Seagulls as their deficit doubled five minutes before the break.
After Duffy failed to deal with a long ball forward, Weghorst – who overcame a hip issue to feature – played the ball to Brownhill and his low effort ricocheted to squirm beyond Spain international Sanchez.
Albion were struggling for a way back into the game. They threw on 17-year-old striker Evan Ferguson for a Premier League debut in the 68th minute but almost immediately conceded again.
Former England winger Lennon did the damage, bursting into the box to lash home via the underside of the crossbar and put the result beyond doubt.
Brighton have never beaten Burnley at home in the Premier League and had no answer.
Only an offside flag prevented Dwight McNeil making it 4-0 before the Seagulls were booed off by the limited number of home supporters still inside the stadium.
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